Sunday, August 12, 2012

Love of Language: Figurative Lang and Context Clue Examples

 
This year, I have decided to create a Love of Language in my classroom--not just with read alouds, but strategically and routinely through weekly lessons.


To prepare for my Love of Language Fridays, I pay attention to my read alouds throughout the week. I am on the lookout for examples of figurative language and unknown/new words that might allow us to practice developing our context clue skills. I pull examples of sentences and paragraphs that students would benefit from revisiting and analyzing. While a word may not be "unknown" to everyone (or I may have given a quick synonym for during the actual read aloud), I can still revisit the word to expose students to how to think about figuring out unknown words. Also, I choose examples from my read alouds because I like for the examples to be familiar to students when we discuss the figurative language/poetic devices and practice using context clues to figure out the meaning.

Friday's reading minilesson focuses on those examples of figurative language and unknown words in context. (After teaching these lessons a few weeks now, I have found that we only have time for working with figurative language or context clue examples if I have a lot of examples to share. I'm sure if I would keep it to one example of each, we could do both in one lesson.) To prepare for Friday, I type up the examples in cute font and print them on large sized paper (11x17).

Here are my examples for my first Love of Language lesson.

The figurative language example comes from Bedhead by Margie Palatini and the context clue example comes from Pictures of Hollis Woods by Patricia Reilly Giff. We used Bedhead as a writing mentor this week and we are reading Pictures of Hollis Woods for read aloud.
What do students do with these examples? Students have a Love of Language binder with 5 sections: 
Word of the Week (WOW)
 Nifty Thrifty Fifty (NFT)/Content Vocab 
Context Clues 
Figurative Language 
Poems

In the Figurative Language Section, students have a graphic organizer that looks like this: 
 
Through our discussion, students noted that in "spilled, spit, and sputtered" the author used alliteration. "Two-toast Toasties did triple back-flips onto the breakfast table" also contained alliteration but was an example of personification, too. Students recorded this example under the example column, then explained what the excerpt meant. Next, they drew a picture that represented the image.

In the context clues section, students complete a graphic organizer that looks like this:
 
Students record the example ("We lumbered up the main street of Hancock, passing a row of houses and a movie theater, and came to a stop in front of a diner."), we discuss the possible clues given--we decided that lumbered was a verb and that it must have described some sort of movement, maybe slowly or maybe they were walking up hill or maybe they were tired as they traveled through the town. Then, students record the meaning of the unknown word and the type of context clues we used to help us decide on the meaning. In this case, we decided that the placement of the word in the sentence let us know it was a verb/movement and the context helped us with the mood of the word.

Are you ready to start a love of language? Click here to read more or here to preview my teacherspayteachers love of language product.


Saturday, August 11, 2012

Back to School SALE! SALE! SALE! (2012-2013)

It's that time of year again! TPT will be holding a Back to School sale tomorrow, August 12 thru Monday August 13. You can get everything on the site 10% off. This is in addition to the sales that many sellers are also holding. The TPT code is BTS12. In addition to the TPT discount, all items in my store will be 10 % off.

I was already thinking about recommending items for BACK TO SCHOOL, so now I can recommend items AND you can get them on SALE! :) Here goes:

Reading:

Love of Language Program: Aligned with Common Core in Mind (includes graphic organizers for word learning, vocabulary in context, nifty thrifty fifty, and more; the program is explained so that you can implement it immediately. Check out my L<3L classroom bulletin boards and learn more about the program here. 

Nonfiction Informational Reading Strategies and Graphic Organizers(perfect for Common Core Reading Information strands)
Character Trait Definition Cards, Powerpoint, and Activity Graphic Organizers (one of my best sellers!)
   


Word Study: Words Their Way Word Searches
Within Word Pattern Spellers Word Searches

Syllables and Affixes Spellers Word Searches
(These products also includes a structure for word study and extra goodies).

Social Studies:
US History Student Timeline Booklets (These will be a measly 2.43 with my sale and the coupon!)
My students have loved using the Timeline booklets this year. Often, I use it as a tool to jigsaw the events we have learned about during our 2-3 days of research. I will also be pulling them into our reader's workshop when we study historical fiction. The possibilities are endless!

Be sure to peruse the other items in my store. Happy Back to School! I hope your new year starts off as smoothly and wonderfully as mine has (with my looping kiddos :)).

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Back to School 2012-2013 Social Studies Workshop Part 2

In this post, I hope to get into the nuts and bolts of my social studies workshop. How do I plan for each component of the workshop and the flow of the week?

Well, first I have to explain my change in thinking  about how to plan for social studies.

I used to think "Okay, I'm teaching Colonization/Revolutionary War for 4 weeks and we will get as far as we get before it's time to move on to Science." Depending on the how fast the group of children works, we may get through activities and assignments at a good pace, but inevitably, I have to cut some of my activities and learning plans.

By planning through the workshop model, I figured out that it makes sense to break the concept down into smaller topics and plan to spend just a week on those concepts. I chose to break our Colonization/Revolutionary War unit into the following 4 topics: Week 1: The Thirteen Colonies, Week 2: The Colonies Rebel, Week 3: Important People of the Revolution, Week 4: Important Battles of the Revolution. This will nicely set the foundation for our 2nd nine weeks' social studies unit, Government.

Okay, let's get to planning. Here's my social studies planning template again:
 
1st, I gather many different kinds of resources and decide on my minilesson plans. Will I use a read aloud, poem, video clip, interactive smartboard activity, or a question and quick write to launch a discussion? Is there an important person or event that students won't learn about through their work stations that I can teach them about in minilesson?

Next, I pull materials for small groups. We have guided reading materials that came with our social studies textbook. These are good for my below-grade level and average readers. For my higher readers, I plan to use the Joy Hakim series entitled A History of US. I could also choose to use historical fiction and make the small groups more like a book club. (I may do this later in the year for another unit, but for our first unit, I chose to focus on nonfiction reading skills.) We have a great book room that we have worked hard over the years to make sure provides us with materials that connect to the content areas. With social studies workshop, now we can definitely utilize them even if we are studying fiction in readers' workshop. Sometimes it might even make sense for me to pull a chapter from the social studies book to utilize during small groups--the possibilities are truly endless, but  I want to make sure I am supporting students' learning of literacy skills and deepening their understanding of the time period.

Next, I think about what stations or tasks I want to have. With stations being Tues, Wed, and Thurs, students will have two stations and one day that they meet with me during the work time portion of our workshop. What materials and activities have I used in the past that I want to use in stations? For this first go-round, one of my stations will be computer-based so that students can use technology to learn and one of my stations will be a research station that allows us to share our learning through a jigsaw or carousel activity on Fridays.

Now that I am ready, I group my students and think about which day would be best to meet with each group. Might one group of my students need me to teach them research strategies in their small group before they go to the research station? (Of course!). I also think about which students would benefit from a partner at the computer station and research station and try to organize my groups so that they have the support they need while I am working with small groups.

One last thing I have to plan for is fast-finishers. Now, with this structure, I feel like I will rarely have fast finishers, but I still need to plan for them given that one of my purposes for social studies workshop was that some students could accomplish more learning during social studies time. I decided to begin with three simple choices for our first unit: pull a book from the Colonial/Revolutionary War book bin, read, and represent your learning in your knowledge notebook; choose one of the RAFT writing ideas and write a piece in your knowledge notebook; work on your timeline booklet, adding more events from this time period.

I may change this structure as the year goes on, but these are my plans for using a workshop model in our first social studies unit. I'm super excited to see how it goes.

How is your social studies instruction going? Am I just a slow-learner or are these the things you tweak as you gain more experience?

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